Shtarilulye Mathews

My beautiful three-year old Gypsy Vanner mare, Shtar, was horribly injured when she ran through a fence two days before we were to leave for a show. When she was admitted to the UGA VTH my first concern was whether she would survive the damage to her leg. The doctors and staff were so kind and reassured me that they would do everything they could to heal the wound. Shtar spent two months at the UGA VTH and every morning I got a cheerful text and pictures of Shtar from the various students that cared for her. The doctors were extremely accommodating, calling to let me know when bandage changes would occur so that I could come in and see the progress she was making. I was allowed to come every day and visit as well.

Despite the amount of damage to her hock — including the bone, which required surgery to remove a sequela — the doctors and students were always extremely optimistic about Shtar’s chances of a full recovery. Each time I would look at her leg I would have doubts as to whether I’d ever ride her again — and I was sure her show career was over. However, each time the bandages came off her leg looked better and better. What started as a wound which went almost completely around her hock, the loss of a large area of skin, deep muscle damage, and a hole that you could see the bone through, is now only a narrow scar. To top it all off, just six months after her injury she was shown and has brought home numerous blue ribbons in halter and performance classes — including High Point Dressage winner at the Feathered Horse Classic and will go on to compete at the FHC Nationals in 2018! I have always felt that UGA VTH was a special place, as this wasn’t the first time one of my babies has been a patient there, but Shtar’s recovery exceeded all of my expectations.

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